NDFP to GRP: Stop AFP-PNP if you want ‘lowering levels of violence’

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel said the Rodrigo Duterte government should look at its own forces if it wants to see “lowering levels of violence” in the country.

In a statement, NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said it is the Armed Forces of the Philippines -Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) that sows violence in the country.

“Sec. Bello should look at their own troops and police before making such outrageous demands on the revolutionary movement,” Agcaoili told Kodao.

Agcaoili was reacting to Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III’s statement Monday that formal peace negotiations could be resumed if the New People’s Army decreases its attacks against the military.

BusinessMirror reported Monday that the government panel is closely monitoring the situation in the countryside to evaluate if the environment is conducive for peace negotiations.

“We are still waiting for better developments, [a] lowering level of violence,” Bello said.

But Agcaoili said Bello should address his call to the AFP-PNP.

“Since in the month of September alone, the AFP and PNP have conducted three aerial bombardments against communities in Batangas, Agusan del Norte and North Cotabato and killed Lumad and civilians in Davao Sur, Negros Occidental and Sultan Kudarat,” Agcaoili said.

“(The military also) have claimed to have killed nine Red fighters in Nueva Ecija, four in Pangasinan, two each in Zamboanga and North Cotabato, one each in Batangas and Ilocos Sur, and have arrested alleged NPA fighters in the above-mentioned provinces as well as in Palawan, Catanduanes, Mindoro, among others,” Agcaoili added.

GRP President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled the fifth round of formal in The Netherlands last May after failing to force the NDFP to sign a bilateral ceasefire agreement.

Duterte however said he is not averse to the resumption of the talks after the NPA released a prisoner of war (POW) September 15 in accordance with the GRP-NDFP’s Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

The NDFP chief negotiator said the NPA’s release of former POW Senior Police Officer 2 George Rupinta in Compostela Valley Province proves it follows humanitarian laws in its conduct of war.

“The NPA is waging a just war of national and social liberation in accordance with its own humane rules of engagement with utmost respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and in accordance with its circumstances,” Agcaoili said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)